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Airbus says A400M set-up was "recipe for disaster"

TOULOUSE, France, Jan 15 (Reuters) - The head of planemaker Airbus said the way its delayed A400M airlifter project had been set up was a “recipe for disaster”.

Parent EADS EAD.PA last week called for changes to the way Europe's largest single military procurement deal is carried out and requested more time to carry out tests. The move followed 2 years of delays that EADS blames on a group of engine makers.

“We want to continue the programme, but we want to continue it in a way that ensures success for the customers and success for the industry,” Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders said on Thursday.

“With the current contractual and organisational set-up we will not get there; this is a recipe for disaster.”

Enders suggested the project designed to renew transport capacity for seven NATO countries needed a significant overhaul. It is running two years late but EADS wants to add at least another year and says it was unfairly saddled with all the risk.

“It would be irresponsible to continue on the current track, so our task is not to put the programme back on track but to put it on a new, solid and realistic footing in terms of the schedule, the organisation and financials,” Enders said.

Britain this week rejected talk of a 3-4 year delay. (Reporting by Tim Hepher, Matthias Blamont and Kerstin Doerr; Editing by James Regan)

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